Looking around lately, I've noticed how quick people are to quit. In business, sports, entertainment, and of course relationships, when adversity strikes people fold. I understand that in toxic situations, it's better for people to go their separate ways, but that's not what I'm talking about. And honestly, those situations are pretty rare.
What I see more, are situations where people go into something with good intentions and have a timetable in mind for how it's supposed to work out. Then, they see that things aren't looking the way they thought and they start to freak out. They pay lip service to the fact that they are trying to figure things out, but then they start looking for escape routes. Inevitably things go from bad to worse and everybody goes their separate ways.
You see it on sports teams who hire a coach and expect him to turn the team into a contender immediately. The team might have a rocky season or 2 and then it's over. New coach, same cycle. In the movie business you see this when a director is hired to make a great movie within the studio's parameters. The director feels constrained, bump heads with the studio, and many times finds him/herself off the project or putting out a substandard product. In relationships people say they want to spend their lives together, but they never tackle the things that might be come between them. Gradually over time they drift apart, maybe find other love interests, and say it didn't work.
You can make an argument that a split is a good thing, I get that, but I think in most cases we miss out on the great things in life because we are too consumed by good things that we can see right now.
Examples! In basketball who would you rather be associated with: the San Antonio Spurs or the New York Knicks? As a Knicks fan, it's painful for me to write this, but the answer is the Spurs. Why? Because they have achieved greatness. In the late 1990s they put a team of players, coaches, and management in place that was designed to have success for a long period of time. There were a lot of rocky moments. There were times that they could have dumped their core players for younger, or more talented guys. But they didn't. They made tweaks when necessary and replaced personnel as needed, but the core has remained intact. And they've been the most successful organization in the NBA for the last 15 years. My beloved Knicks have done the exact opposite of the Spurs since they met in the 1998-99 Finals. They've also had the exact opposite results.
In the film industry, my favorite example is the Godfather. Paramount hired Francis Ford Coppola to bring Mario Puzo's story to life, but they fought him on all of his choices and constantly threatened to fired him. Fortunately Coppola was able to hang on and get the movie done and the rest is history. But the bottom line is that two of the best movies ever made almost didn't happen.
In business and romance, there are more than enough examples. You can see them everywhere. They are the examples we all aspire to.
The best things in my life have come from me working on something when it might have seemed like a lost cause. Putting my all into finding solutions and making things what I wanted them to be whether it's in sports, school, business, or a relationship. Maybe I'm wrong on this and it's better to cut your losses quickly. I can understand that logic, but I haven't seen it really work. Not long term. And isn't that what we should be considering? Chances are that most of us will live for a long time. No one wants regrets. It's terrible to look back and realize that fear held you back from what you wanted to do. But what's worse, is realizing that you might have been in the right situation, but gave up on it and missed out on something amazing.
It's never black and white. We never totally know if we're making the right choice. But if something is really important to you, think about hanging in a little longer and actually make the effort to see what you can do to make the situation work. Can you help your under performing teammate improve? Can you put your pride in your back pocket and trust someone else's ideas on a project? Can you work on your communication? Can you try one more idea? Can you be patient and loving with your significant other while giving them space to work through something? Maybe there's something you can do and maybe there's not, but if you don't give it your best effort, you're selling yourself short. I want to look back and know that I really tried - whether things work or not. If I lose, I want to lose knowing I tried everything. Because I also know that if I give everything enough, I'll win some. And those wins are by far the sweetest.